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Angelic Alchemist
05-08-2010, 12:25 AM
So I was hanging out with Kerry the bee guy today and he mentions to me that he likes (yes, LIKES) getting stung at least once a week because it wards off certain autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. A few quick google searches revealed to me that this is indeed a new alternative medicine with some scientific backing for case studies done in mice with a condition similar to MS.

Before I go running to Kerry's backyard once a week to subject myself to a pissed off worker at one of his hives, tell me beekeepers: any experience with this phenomenon?

Chevette Girl
05-08-2010, 12:52 AM
I suppose it's no worse than a steriod injection! Although I'd worry about developing an immune response (allergy) to repeated stings... are beekeepers more likely to develop allergies to bees?

Angelic Alchemist
05-08-2010, 01:15 PM
Kerry has been a beekeeper for over a decade and has been stung countless times. He is not allergic. Conversly, my entomology professor in college was not allergic to bees in his youth but developed an allergy over time. So, I guess it depends on the individual.

icedmetal
05-24-2010, 12:02 PM
The best way to get rid of a bee sting allergy... is to get stung! Make sure your epi-pen is ready to go, and don't take my advice over that of a trained professional. Repeated stings over time will help the beekeeper to build a tolerance to the venom, thereby eliminating the allergic reaction. My dad used to be allergic, until he kept pissing off his bees. Sometimes he'd get stung a half dozen times.

That said, if you're so allergic you turn into a balloon from a single sting, it's probably not worth the effort... or the cost in epi-pens.

My wife and I have just one hive right now. She's only gotten stung once so far (not allergic) and I haven't managed to get stung at all yet. I keep threatening to grab a bee and sting myself, but haven't quite gotten up the gumption yet.

-SIRES

Angelic Alchemist
05-24-2010, 12:42 PM
I went for my first "treatment" last week - we used a bee that was at the end of her lifecycle. The healthier bees will kick out the old ones whose wings don't work anymore, and they crawl around in the grass waiting to die anyways. I felt it was the most ethical selection. Kerry mushed the bee into my shoulder for me, since I hesitated doing it to myself. He pulled the stinger before it pumped all the toxin into my system to err on the side of caution. I felt itchy and slightly dizzy for a little while, but had no serious side effects.

PitBull
05-24-2010, 01:03 PM
The best way to get rid of a bee sting allergy... is to get stung! Make sure your epi-pen is ready to go, and don't take my advice over that of a trained professional. Repeated stings over time will help the beekeeper to build a tolerance to the venom, thereby eliminating the allergic reaction. My dad used to be allergic, until he kept pissing off his bees. Sometimes he'd get stung a half dozen times.

That said, if you're so allergic you turn into a balloon from a single sting, it's probably not worth the effort... or the cost in epi-pens.

I would take real caution with that approach. A man from my hometown was once the rattlesnake-bagging champion for PA. He was bitten often enough that he developed immunity to the anti-venom that was used for treatment of the bites. He had to give up the sport because another bite could be fatal with no effective antidote.

You are most likely correct that it's probably not worth the effort or the cost in epi-pens if one is very allergic. Im not sure how sure how snake bites and bee stings correlate, but Id be worried about developing immunity to the epi-pen.

icedmetal
05-24-2010, 01:46 PM
Im not sure how sure how snake bites and bee stings correlate, but Id be worried about developing immunity to the epi-pen.

They don't, and you can't. :) Epi-pens are just adrenaline, something your body manufactures naturally anyhow. IIRC, (did my research when I got the pens, been awhile) they work by decreasing inflammation of soft tissue, such as your throat, which tends to swell closed when a severe reaction occurs. There's no direct interaction between the epinephrine and the bee venom.

But yes, like I said before, don't go getting stung intentionally if you're allergic, it's just not a good idea.

-SIRES

skunkboy
05-24-2010, 06:29 PM
I'm not allergic, but stings still burn like the dickens. I don't keep bees but manage to get stung a couple times are year up until like last year, mostly because I have not seen any wild bees around for while...

Angelic Alchemist
05-25-2010, 12:01 AM
Yeah, the stings don't stop hurting no matter what you do. Kinda sucks because the only way to get the benefits is from having the venom injected. :p

TimV
06-20-2010, 11:32 AM
I get stung up to several hundred times per month since I'm to lazy to suit up all the time. It's been that way for years and I eat my own honey every day etc.. I'm 50 and still have no problem working 12 hour days, can bench press 250 and I weigh 200 pounds, can beat all four of my sturdy sons in wrestling and very seldom get sick. Pulse rate 67 beats per minute, body fat at about 9 percent. And every long term pro beekeeper I know is in similar health adjusted for age.

Angelic Alchemist
06-20-2010, 12:12 PM
Kerry is 55 years old and in robust condition as well! He is also too lazy to suit up all the time. :-)

andrewschwab
06-20-2010, 10:58 PM
I was not of the sorts to really by into the venom therapy stuffs....

UNTILL, I had jammed my finger good one day, the thing could hardly move bend etc... So what do I do, go out and work some bees. Guess what finger catches a sting, I figured the the finger was going to fall off now :eek: , by the time I was walking out of the bee yard, I had full movement of it... Still swollen but it could move again.. Untill later that night back to its jammed up self.

So i do believe there is truth behind it.

But as always be carefull people. :p